Politics

Croatian Minority in Serbia Celebrates Its Day

By 17 December 2016

Members of Croatian national minority in Serbia mark their day.

Croatian national minority in Serbia celebrated on Friday one of its four holidays. At the main ceremony in Subotica, their leadership pointed out the achievements, but also warned about the problems for the community which result from deteriorating relations between Serbia and Croatia.

In the last 16 years since the Croatian National Council (HNV) was established, there have been many remarkably positive developments – regular classes in the Croatian language have been introduced, the Croatian Word weekly has again started publishing, television and radio programmes on Vojvodina Radio Television have been launched, and the Institute for Culture of Vojvodina Croats was founded, said in his speech HNV president Slaven Bačić.

“However, at the same time, there were many negative developments in education, media, use of the Croatian language, and culture. But, the largest problem is intangible – a sense of fear and anxiety, especially in places where we are a minority”, added Bačić. “While confronting these and many other and often suppressed problems, I can honestly say that being a Croat in Serbia is not easy.”

On behalf of Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, the anniversary of the foundation of the Croatian National Council was attended by Consul General of Croatia in Subotica Velimir Pleša, who said that Croatia would take care of its compatriots in Serbia. “The status of Croats in Serbia will be one of the main topics of talks between Zagreb and Belgrade whenever they occur”, said Pleša.

At a ceremony in front of about two hundred guests, HNV presented its annual awards for contribution to culture, education and the social and political work of the Croatian community.

Despite invitations being sent, the ceremony was not attended by any representatives of local, provincial or national governments. “The absence of authorities of Serbia, Vojvodina and local government is striking. We can say that this is a punishment to Croats in Serbia because of the latest events between Serbia and Croatia. Such negative attitude has not been seen for a long time. We hope that this is not an act of political retribution”, said Tomislav Žigmanov, president of the Democratic Alliance of Croats in Vojvodina.

Croatian minority in Serbia marks the day as one of its four holidays in Serbia, since in 2002 the first assembly of the Croatian National Council was formed. The Croatian National Council is a representative body of the Croatian minority in Serbia, which has jurisdiction in the fields of education, culture, media and official use of the Croatian language.

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